The government of Canada has announced its notice of intent to enter into negotiations with the United Kingdom for a comprehensive free trade agreement, with potential for establishing tariff-free trade and the freer movement of citizens.
In an announcement on the government of Canada website, International Trade Minister, Mary Ng, stated that negotiations would commence around 90 days from the date of notice.
“Canada and the United Kingdom share a broad and extensive relationship, built on shared history and values and strong economic ties,” the statement said.
“The Government of Canada now has the opportunity to negotiate an ambitious, modern and comprehensive FTA that best reflects Canada’s inclusive approach to trade and our bilateral trade relationship with the United Kingdom.”.
The deal is expected to benefit both economies as Canada exports $19.9 billion of goods to the United Kingdom while the UK exports $7.8 billion to Canada. Top exports include machinery, precious stones and metals, motor vehicles and parts, pharmaceutical products, and aircraft parts. The United Kingdom is also Canada’s second largest services trading partner, after the United States.
The government of Canada held public consultations in April 2021 to solicit views of Canadians on a Canada-United Kingdom trade agreement. Of the 42 submissions received by the government, 28 (including a comprehensive submission by CANZUK International) suggested that any bilateral free trade agreement should constitute a step towards a broader trade agreement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, with free movement of people being cited as a key area of interest.
The notice of intent comes shortly after Australia and the UK announced the finalization of their free trade agreement (including provisions for visa mobility) and New Zealand agreed an in-principle agreement with the United Kingdom.
Polling commissioned by CANZUK International in September also revealed strong support amongst Canadians and Britons for implementing free movement and foreign policy cooperation between the four CANZUK countries, indicating a strong mandate for the government of Canada to pursue CANZUK proposals as part of an upcoming trade agreement.
CANZUK International welcomes the announcement from the government of Canada and will continue to engage with Members of Parliament to ensure a future trade agreement includes provisions for tariff-free trade and freer movement of citizens between the two countries.
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